About us

Our aim is that our research teams, industry partners, alumni and future graduates, will play a pivotal global role in decarbonising industrial materials and processes, enabling the transition to a low carbon economy.

  • Transition pathways for hard-to-decarbonise sectors including infrastructure, built environment, transport, industrial chemicals, and resources 

  • Clean technology for critical industrial materials such as ammonia, plastics, metals, and cement 

  • Integrated design solutions for buildings, cities and infrastructure, deploying low carbon materials and addressing energy efficiency, climate resilience and community health objectives 

  • Policy, codes and standards to enable accelerated adoption of new technologies 

  • Insights, modelling and analytics, including macro economic perspectives, systems simulation, Scope 3 carbon accounting, novel applications of AI 

  • Green industry development strategy, engaging with government, industry  and research stakeholders (national and international) regarding clean tech investment strategy and trade alliances

  • Community of practice, Forming transdisciplinary teams across UNSW faculties and disciplines

  • Workforce development via input to UNSW undergraduate, HDR and WILcurriculum design


The Institute for Industrial Decarbonisation brings together transdisciplinary expertise across UNSW faculties to support companies and industry sectors in achieving NetZero targets. Initiatives span technological, economic and policy innovation, aligned with green industry development opportunities. Advanced clean technologies are being developed in UNSW laboratories. In tandem, teams are working with research, industry and government partners to address the regulatory, finance, infrastructure, integrated design and trade solutions needed to accelerate adoption at scale.  

Universities are ready and able to work with policy makers and business leaders to wrest back control of the climate trajectory.
Photo of Professor Attila Brungs, Vice-Chancellor & President, UNSW
Professor Attila Brungs
Vice-Chancellor & President, UNSW


This program is focussed on clean technology for producing critical industrial materials including metals, plastics, ammonia and cement. UNSW is a global leader in developing solutions for these heavy industrial products. Research activity includes:

  • Clean technologies for metal production – for example, direct reduction of metal ores using hydrogen and renewable electricity
  • Production of green hydrogen and ammonia using solar catalysis
  • Development of green plastics that do not require petrochemical feedstocks
  • Development of low carbon cements for use in buildings and infrastructure

Decarbonising the resources sector requires optimising the environmental and operational efficiency of every aspect of mining systems, from exploration through to early-stage processing.

This program is led by UNSW’s Mineral and Energy Resources school, leveraging expertise across other engineering schools, including computer science, energy, civil and chemical engineering.

Research activities include:

  • Demand driven supply of strategic metal ores

  • Deploying advances in sensing and automation 

  • Life cycle analysis for mining processes 

  • Innovation in mine site material handing to minimise energy usage

  • Precinct-based development models based on shared infrastructure

Reducing the carbon embodied in the lifecycle of buildings and infrastructure demands more deeply integrated approaches to the design and management of urban systems. Led jointly by the Built Environment and Civil Engineering schools, this program also leverages expertise across computer science, materials science, energy, business and law.

Activities include: 

  • Experimental designs, prototyping and validation for low carbon buildings and infrastructure
  • Aligning decarbonisation measures with climate response, community health and amenity objectives
  • Working with peak industry bodies and government to accelerate evolution of national accreditation systems, planning schemes and building codes that incentivise use of low carbon materials and design solutions
  • Integrating energy efficiency factors, future renewable distribution, storage and distribution systems within the built environment.
  • Whole-of-system optimisation models for energy, water, and transport infrastructure
  • Leveraging automation, simulation and advanced manufacturing technologies to optimise construction processes e.g. smart modular prefabrication

This program links UNSW modelling expertise across economics, techno-economics, planning and carbon accounting disciplines, with expertise in computing and AI. Decarbonisation is immensely complex due to interdependencies across supply chains and the multiplicity of technologies within production processes.

Alternative clean technologies, processes and design solutions must be economically viable, and in many sectors must satisfy mission critical performance criteria. Likewise, geographic and infrastructure planning considerations are critical to prospects for green industry development. Advanced modelling and simulation, leveraging the power of digital technologies, can significantly de-risk investment and transition processes. 

Initiatives include: 

  • Macroeconomic and techno-economic insights comparing alternate pathway scenarios for investment in green industry 

  • ‘Digital twin’ models for key supply chains 

  • Deploying AI solutions to help navigate complexity and reveal novel pathways

  • Working with industry software providers to embed pathway insights and carbon accounting (scope 1, 2 and 3) into operational software platforms

This program draws on activities and outputs of the other five streams. No nation or transnational company can tackle decarbonisation in isolation from its trade partners and change drivers in the global economy. In addition to climate, these drivers include increased geopolitical instability, supply chain fragility, and Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAMs).

The Institute is engaging with leading transnational companies, and national and international policy and global development processes to help navigate these issues and chart sustainable development pathways for Australia and regional allies.

Activities include: 

  • Supporting UNSW leadership in peak strategic engagement processes

  • Input to Australian industry development policy such as “Future Made in Australia” with regard to technology readiness and clean tech acceleration

  • Provision of modelling and insights relevant to the location and master planning of green industry precincts

  • Provision of insights regarding technological trends and shifting trade dynamics 

  • Supporting Australian bilateral and multilateral relationships via collaboration with international research and education partners 

Better planning for water, energy and transport infrastructure is necessary enable decarbonisation across all sectors of industry.  

Activities include:

  • Developing scenario tools for future transport infrastructure in the context of fleet electrification, low carbon fuels, and changing patterns in passenger and freight demand
  • Modelling to help accelerate investment in renewable energy infrastructure needed to supply green heavy industrial precincts – for example, next generation metal smelting and chemical refineries
  • Technologies to electrify and increase the energy efficiency of bulk water supply, waste water treatment and irrigation

Latest news

Industry partnerships

If you have a specific technical challenge you would like to explore, or are interested in discussing your company's decarbonisation strategy and transition, please get in touch.

The benefits of working with UNSW include:
  • Multidisciplinary expertise at a leading global research institution.  
  • Access to world-class technologies and infrastructure.  
  • Dedicated industry-facing and government-facing organisational units. 
  • Highly effective partnership models including research strategy advice and support.
  • Collaborative research leveraging third party and government funding.  
  • Access to our national and global research partners.  
  • Access to students through professional development programs, projects, and our industry placement program.  
  • Opportunities to lead or participate in high impact demonstration projects.

Our centres and facilities

Future leaders and the skills pipeline

A sustainable future for all is a priority at UNSW. Through our undergraduate degrees and postgraduate programs, to executive level short courses and briefings offered by the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and Australian Graduate School of Engineering (AGSE), we are helping to provide the skills needed to achieve decarbonisation at an industrial scale.

Learn more: 


The IID works with and builds on existing national and international networks in the climate and sustainable development field. UNSW Chairs the International Universities Climate Alliance, leads the NSW government’s Decarbonisation Hub and is engaged with the UN in relation to sustainability and resilience initiatives throughout the Indo-Pacific. Regarding regional engagement, the IID works in tandem with the Office of the Vice Chancellor and other key UNSW groups including The Institute for Global DevelopmentThe Climate Risk & Response InstituteThe Cities Institute, The Energy InstituteThe Global Water Institute and the Australian Defence Force Academy.

UNSW IID is proud to work with:


David Eyre, Chief Executive Officer
E: d.eyre@unsw.edu.au

For general enquiries, please call the Faculty of Engineering reception on (+61 2) 9385 5000.